By Jay Lloyd
Next weekend, Civil War buffs will be observing the 150th anniversary of the most significant naval battle in US waters -– the clash between the Monitor and the Merrimack, on the Chesapeake Bay.
There are several spots to join the observance.
A weekend getaway to Virginia, where the first battle between ironclad warships raged, puts you in the heart of American history.
At Monitor-Merrimack Overlook Park in Newport News, you can view the fabled waters of Hampton Roads (top photo), where these innovative vessels changed the direction of naval warfare for all time. They fought to a virtual draw.
The Mariners Museum, near the park, holds a treasure trove of ironclad history, and next week it will host a series of special events for the “Battle of Hampton Roads Weekend.”
But you’re also close to the Jamestown Colony, the Yorktown Revolutionary War battlefield, and Colonial Williamsburg.
Looking for something closer? Visit New York and the new Brooklyn Navy Yard Museum (see related “Getaway” story), where the Monitor was armed after construction at nearby Greenpoint.
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The trick was getting the ungainly ship to the Chesapeake Bay. That’s easy now. My preferred route is the long way, down the eastern shore of Maryland and Virginia, and across the scenic Bay Bridge Tunnel.